Your guide to a successful online business!

Why pay for WordPress when there are a range of free alternatives? There’s even a free version of WordPress that you can use to get a blog up and running. When getting your business online, you’re probably looking to save as much money as possible, so opting for free services can seem tempting. In this guide we’ll explain why WordPress stands head and shoulders above these free alternatives.

Just a quick note: This article will use WordPress to refer to the version which you have to install on your own hosting package, and WordPress.com to talk about the free version.

Let’s look at where WordPress wins out over free alternatives.

Design

Although free blogging platforms like WordPress.com and Blogger do allow you some small degree of customisation, you won’t have full control over the look of your site. With WordPress you can change almost any aspect of your site – either by yourself, or with the help of a designer. This allows you to use WordPress for more than just a simple blog. You can learn more about creating the perfect WordPress site for your business in this guide.

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Extra functionality

With Blogger and WordPress.com, you’re limited to the functionality offered by the platform. With WordPress you can add pretty much whatever you need in the form of plugins. The 123-reg blog uses WordPress plugins to add features including better search engine optimisation, integration with our Twitter account, a popular posts section and more besides.
If you want to take your website to the next level then Blogger or WordPress.com won’t allow you to add the functionality you need to do this. You can add this extra functionality with plugins, and you can learn how to get started with them in this post.

Ecommerce

Want to use your website to sell a product or service directly? Then WordPress.com and Blogger aren’t for you. WordPress on the other hand can be fully integrated with a range of ecommerce platforms. The bottom line is that if you want to sell directly to customers, then a hosted WordPress will offer a much easier solution for you than any free website could.

If setting up an ecommerce store via WordPress seems too intimidating, then you can always consider the 123-reg Online Shop – a quick and easy way to get your business online.

Monetisation

Not looking to sell a product via your website and just want to monetise a blog through advertising? Then WordPress.com and Blogger aren’t for you. If you use one of these platforms for your blog, visitors may still see ads on your site, but the money won’t go to you. Instead, it will go to Automattic, the owners of  WordPress.com, and the owners of Blogger, Google.

If you want to profit from your own ads on your own site, then WordPress is the way to go.

Professionalism

Would you buy a product or service from a business that uses a free blogging platform to host its website? If the answer is no, then you need to ask yourself why anyone would buy from your business if it uses a free site. A site on paid for hosting not only offers more flexibility, it also presents your business in a more professional light.

Domain name

Although it is possible to redirect your WordPress.com or Blogger site to a domain you own, you still have to pay for and register the domain you want. With many hosting providers offering a free domain name with their hosting packages, it doesn’t cost much more to opt for the self-hosted version of WordPress and all the advantages that come with it.

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Ease of access to all your website data

Although the technical side of WordPress can seem intimidating, it’s always useful to know that you can export and back up all your website information when you need to. If you use a free site, then you won’t have full control of everything and will be putting your data in the hands of a third-party. If you keep control of your data and keep it backed up, then you’ll always be able to restore your website should something go wrong. You can learn more about the importance of backing up your data here.

Ready to take the plunge?

You can sign up for 123-reg WordPress hosting here. Alternatively, if you don’t want to build your own WordPress site, you can check out our easy to use Website Builder, or have everything done for you with the Make Me A Website package.

Any questions about WordPress? Leave a comment and we’ll get back to you.

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